Jason Momoa’s drunk claims, Amber Hart cut scene, Elon Musk letter

This water is becoming choppy.

On the same day in mid-September that Warner Bros. released the trailer for its $215 million “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” embarrassing documents from the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation lawsuit surfaced on Reddit, creating a new headache for the studio. done. the film.

Depp fans paid court fees to get documents from Heard’s physician, Dr. Don Hughes, released. The crude notes, written on a legal pad, were part of last year’s high-profile trial in which Depp won a landslide victory. They describe a hostile “Aquaman” set where a reportedly drunk Jason Momoa dressed up like Depp and pressured Heard to step down from the role of aquatic superhero Mera.

“Jason said he wanted to fire me,” the notes said. “Jason was drunk – late on set. Dressing like Johnny. All the rings are there too.”

A representative for Momoa declined to comment, but a DC spokesperson emphasized Heard’s characterization, saying, “Jason Momoa conducted himself professionally at all times on the set of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.’ Operated.” Others echoed that sentiment. “Jason works hard, likes to drink the occasional beer like everyone else, but doesn’t get drunk on set,” says an insider who was on the London set in 2021. Were seen joking together. “And he’s not dressing like Johnny Depp. He has always dressed in bohemian style.

Heard declined to comment, but a source close to the actress confirmed that the notes refer to the “Aquaman 2” set and reflect a session dated December 27, 2021. Another source close to the actress says her lawyers fought to release the therapy notes, which were subpoenaed by Depp’s lawyers during discovery.

Momoa wasn’t the only “Aquaman” principal to run into controversy. The therapy sessions also painted a picture of Heard feeling unsupported by the film’s director, James Wan, and treated as a pariah due to her high-profile legal battle with her ex-husband.

“He raised his voice at me – ‘I can’t even post about Aquaman’ – made it seem like it was my fault – I said ‘I’m sorry,'” Hughes’ notes say in reference to Wan. “No one on the set could take selfies with me because of the blackout.”

Wan declined to comment. A DC spokesperson says, “James is known for treating his cast and crew members with the utmost respect and fostering a positive, collaborative environment on set – the ‘Aquaman’ films were no exception.”

and still heard Was Almost fired, sources on both sides say Diversity, Following the release of “Aquaman” in 2018, the studio and Wan decided to remove the actress from the sequel due to her lack of chemistry with Momoa and sent a letter to her attorney Carl Austen informing him of their decision. (Former DC Films boss Walter Hamada testified in the defamation suit about the “chemistry issue.”) Those sources underlined that the move to bounce Heard was unrelated to Depp and that Depp filed a lawsuit against the actress in 2019. It happened before. Similarly, Momoa was not involved in the decision making. But another source pushed back on the lack of chemistry story, noting that Heard had taken a chemistry test with Momoa before playing Mera and two other actresses, including Abbey Lee, had taken similar chemistry tests. Was defeated.

Ultimately, the studio never pulled the trigger on firing Heard because her ex-boyfriend, Elon Musk, had one of his litigants send a “scorched-earth letter to Warner Bros. threatening to burn the house down if the actress wasn’t brought back.” Will go”. For a sequel, says a source familiar with the behind-the-scenes fighting. Warner Bros. relented and moved forward with Heard. (Musk did not respond to a request for comment.)

The drama is being repeated at a time when Warner Bros. heads Pam Abedy and Mike De Luca and DC Entertainment are at the helm. James Gunn and Peter Safran are set to close the book on the previous Reign’s superhero slate with the release of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” on December 20. With Abedi and De Luca joining the studio in June 2022, followed by Gunn and Safran’s entry four months later, all four inherit DC, including this year’s “The Flash” ($271 million worldwide). and “Blue Beetle”. ($128 million worldwide).

Nevertheless, the “Aquaman” sequel showed promise as the character’s first appearance grossed $1.15 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing DC film of all time. But sources say the sequel faces challenges outside of the Hurd saga and is being tested in the ’60s before being re-released in summer 2022. Despite the overhaul, the film continued testing into the ’60s, leading to a new cut. “This movie is like an echo of the regime,” says one insider. “It’s the last vestige of the Snyderverse, and no one really wants to take ownership of it.” Reshoots continued until the WGA strike in May this year. An on-set source refuted the idea that “Aquaman 2” is troubled, noting that the film was on schedule, under budget and only required one week of reshoots.

Like “Flash” and “Blue Beetle,” “Aquaman” can’t shake its tenuous grip, with the DC Universe being overhauled under new leadership, a top priority for Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

In fact, none of the stars Zack Snyder cast for 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and 2017’s “Justice League” — including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller and Momoa Are – will not reprise their roles. Character in the new DC universe. Momoa may return, just not as Aquaman. Sources say the actor is in talks to play Lobo, either in the 2025 reboot “Superman: Legacy,” written and directed by Gunn, or in a standalone film. In a confusing twist, Viola Davis, who played Amanda Waller in both of the recent “Suicide Squad” films, is set to play that character in the Gunn-Safran DC universe in next year’s Max series “Waller” and possibly the new “Superman.” Will remain as. ” Tent Poles Another unique take is Gunn’s Max series “Peacemaker,” which will return for a second season with John Cena in the lead role.

Meanwhile, there has been some confusion on the series front as to who is the final gatekeeper. Unlike the Marvel-Disney relationship, in which Marvel controls the creative process and Disney+ only releases content, Max is creatively involved with the DC slate. Gunn and Safran don’t have the same autonomy as Marvel’s Kevin Feige. (A Max source says collaboration between the DC team and Max executives Sarah Aubrey and Casey Bloys has been seamless, including on the upcoming series “The Penguin,” which had to shut down production after the WGA strike began.) was forced to close, but shooting is expected to resume as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike ends.)

Despite this, some are convinced that another company, possibly Universal, will purchase Warner Bros. within two years, making the recent DC subplots and turmoil feel bizarre.

“The main thing is they need to get DC to work, whether Zaslav owns it, whether Brian Roberts owns it, whether someone else owns it,” says Lightshed’s Rich Greenfield, a Wall Street analyst and venture capitalist. “

In the runup to the “Aquaman” sequel, Warner Bros. will be supporting the film externally and hoping for its release in China like “Barbie,” “The Flash” and “Shazam!” Received “Wrath of the Gods”. After all, the first “Aquaman” made nearly $300 million in China alone. But those kinds of numbers from China are a thing of the past. Neither “Barbie” nor “The Flash” came close to the Middle Kingdom haul of “Aquaman” from 2018, earning $35.1 million and $25.9 million, respectively.

For now, neither Momoa nor Heard will be promoting the film in light of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. But if the strike ends soon, now that a settlement has been reached at the WGA, the stars will be scrapped, making it difficult for Warner Bros. and Wan to avoid Heard’s allegations that her role was significantly cut. . At least two Hurd scenes cut from ‘Aquaman 2’ , According to persons familiar with the production, an action sequence featuring Mera fighting Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and a love scene with Momoa were included. Other evidence of friction is hidden in plain sight. This summer, Momoa unfollowed Heard on Instagram. A source says he even stopped Heard from pursuing her.

Apart from the turmoil, the sequel may do well at the box office. The first “Aquaman” also did very well in early testing and held its own in postproduction. A studio source says “Aquaman 2” is following a similar trajectory. Early tracking shows keen interest and puts the film’s debut on par with the first “Aquaman.”

Jeff Bock, box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, says, “Everyone at DC is disappointed, but there’s a chance, especially with limited competition during the holiday season, that ‘Aquaman’ could still sell like gangbusters due to the lack of product. Can play.” “Sometimes the right movie at the right time is all you need.”

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